Hawa Bawdol is quite literally like a breath of fresh air in the world of modern Bengali cinema, because it is not often that you find a film-maker shunning action-romance or relationship melodramas and dabbling with the fantasy comedy genre (albeit modern urban fantasy based on “body-swapping”).
And the credit goes entirely to Parambrata Chattopadhyay for trying. All-in-all, this is a good entertainer with superb comedy dialogues, some great performances, and a few really nice songs!
Jeet is a suave and successful businessman with a loving wife and adorable kid. Raj is a singer with big dreams and a semi-successful rock band, is single and a bit of a Casanova. And they are childhood friends who meet after a long time. Both are tired of their own lives, and would love to exchange!
The same fateful night, while peeing together on the streets, magic happens, and they switch bodies!
The rest of the film is about how they deal with being in each other’s bodies - the problems, the adjustments, the gains and losses, and the missing and desperation to get back to their “own bodies”.
The 1st half of the film is great comedy! Superb dialogues, and smooth free-flowing direction by Param. Rudranil rocks as Raj, he is a hell of an actor. Param is very good as Jeet (this is clearly in his territory).
The 2nd half loses steam somewhat. While Rudranil can essay Jeet’s role equally well, Param is not that convincing as Raj – so, the change-over does not really work that well on-screen.
Also, because Param suddenly abandones comedy and veers towards drama. What is inexplicable is why the characters completely lose their wishes and instincts, and their sole focus is on getting back to their original bodies. A lot of contrived melodrama ensues, and the story drags. It was so promising before interval, so an opportunity lost. The movie is back on track when comedy returns at the end.
In between, some really good performances by Kaushik Ganguly as the music company head, and Kamalika as his wife who tries to seduce Jeet in Raj’s body. The newcomer Neha who plays Raj’s love interest is quite a find. Raima does not have much of a role here, but does her part with aplomb, and provides the beauty element!
This movie is inspired by “The Change-Up” starring Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds.
My 2 cents is that it could have used some more inspiration from “It’s A Boy Girl Thing” in the 2nd half.
Then it could have been an out-and-out comedy throughout, and not comedy plus melodrama.
But then some people like their pure scotch / vodka / wine, and some prefer a cocktail!
p.s. Though it is the same body-swapping thing, but this film is not like or near “Subarno Golok”.